In Summary
  • Kipyego steps up training for trials as she eyes place in women’s 10,000m team
  • Foreign-based stars line up to battle it out for World Championship slots at national trials

After the weekend’s National Athletics Championships, focus now shifts to national trials for next month’s IAAF World Championships.

Beijing’s “Bird’s nest”, the famous venue of the 2008 Olympic Games, will host the Worlds from August 22 to 30 and should provide an indication of what to expect at next year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Some of Kenya’s elites skipped the weekend’s nationals to travel to Lausanne for the Swiss leg of the IAAF Diamond League but the trials will be a full house. On the starting list to spice up the trials will be a legion of Kenya’s foreign-based athletes who make their annual pilgrimage which they honour to seek tickets to various global championships.

Leading the pack is nursing graduate from Texas Tech University, Sally Kipyego, a former World and Olympic 10,000m silver medallist from Kapsowar, Elgeyo Marakwet County who won a record-equalling career nine collegiate championships from the 3,000 metres all the way to the 10,000m. Then there is Betsy Saina, the amiable 27-year-old Iowa State University graduate who won the US Collegiate 5,000m title in 2012.

The men’s ‘summer bunnies’ list is headed by Japan-based Leonard Barsoton, silver medallist in the junior men’s race at the 2013 IAAF World Cross-country Championships. Barsoton is also the Africa Cross-country champion. Kipyego missed the last World Championships at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium due to injury but this time round says she is in great shape.

“Last time I didn’t get to participate in the championships because I had an injury but this time round I’m training hard to get a chance in Team Kenya’s 10,000m squad,” said Kipyego in an exclusive interview in Iten this week.

And this time round, she has decided to concentrate in the 10,000m unlike 2011 when she doubled up in the 5,000m and 10,000m.

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